Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Category: Direct mail

Direct Mail: The Social Status Factor

You might think it is hard to sell high value items by direct mail; but it may not be so hard as you think.

The thing is it is probably best to give the reader more information than you can put into writing in the mailer.  So make your call to action a move onto a website complete with the social proof, video evidence etc needed to ensure the sale.


The Social Status Factor

Oh, and about that status factor.  When times are hard some people want still want to buy expensive items as they “prove” the value and importance of the owner.  Your role is to make this easy for them .. and that is the purpose of the direct mail piece (at least as a starting point).

So a letter that extols the virtue of an expensive Rolex watch and then bounces the reader to the Amazon website where it is for sale can work.  Amazon gives that aura of respectability and credibility and takes away the fear you are going to a dodgy site. 

And if you don’t think Amazon sells high price items then here is the surprise for you. As I write there is a Rolex on sale for £9,999.00.

Alternatively, if you are well known you don’t need Amazon. You can take them to your own website. 


Will people buy expensive items online?

The most expensive thing I ever bought on a website was a new car.  I knew the spec I wanted, found an online retailer that could do it at a lower price than my local dealer and spent a very large sum on a new car (I did take the precaution of only paying a small deposit via a credit card online and then paid on delivery.. I’m not stupid!).

Direct Mail: The Headline .. & More

Direct Mail Headlines are a Vital Copywriting Component to Ensure Sales Success


In past posts about Direct Mail I’ve talked about the need to ensure you have a highly targeted list of people to send your mail to, the value of images, the need for quality paper and envelopes and even the need to “hand write” your letters. I’ve suggested that you could also get the 23% response rate I obtained for my “Bat” letter.

But there are a number of other things you need to know before writing your first letter.

You see once the recipient of your letter has it in their hands and realised that this isn’t junk mail, but something they really want to read, they are going to open your letter .. And they may not proceed beyond that point!

I’ve mentioned the fact that I used images on a leaflet in my example and that I wrote a succinct and highly specific letter … but if the headline on your letter and leaflet isn’t spot on you’ve wasted your time.

Your headline has just one purpose ……

To get the person opening the letter to read everything you’ve sent them, so that they can get to the “call to action” and then buy into your idea or product (and that probably means spending money with you). 


Readers Look For An excuse Not to Read Your Letters

Let’s face it most of us look for an excuse not to read letters.  It might be subconscious but we’ve literally been brainwashed into it by so much junk being sent to us.  In fact most “junk mail” doesn’t even get opened.

But we need to do better than this.  We need to ensure the headline intensifies the good feelings we want to reader to enjoy. We want them to realise that this letter is not just something they ought to read; we want it to be a letter they really want to read. We want them thinking .. “Wow this is brilliant .. it answers all my problems”.


Choosing a Headline For Your Letter

I could write reams about writing the correct headline but I’ll keep it short. You need to get into the head of your reader, understand their problems and write a headline that solves their problem. Simple really.

So this goes back to profiling your customers.  To really understanding their issues and only writing a letter to them once you have a perfect solution .. and can present it well on paper !

In my “Bat” example we were offering a new bat box to environmentalists so that they could evaluate it. We’d profiled these people and knew a lot about them and we’d observed their comments, about existing bat boxes, on forums.  They had concerens about the green credentials and weight of existing boxes.  So we knew their problems and what was causing them pain.

So our headline was “Trial the new improved bat box”

This worked really well but I think in retrospect we could have had an even better response from ……


Evaluate the new lightweight sustainable bat box from [my client’s company name].”

Note I didn’t say test the new box, I said evaluate.  This is their language, the language of science. Trial is a alternative as it is also a scientific word.  So we could have split test each headline to say 100 people and then used the one that performed best.  We could also have tested both headlines via Google Adwords and used the best performing Adword copy.

My client has a good name in their sector so in version two I’ve included it in the headline to add credibility.


Your next copywriting move

Profile your customers, find what pains them .. then encapsulate that in your headline.